Life Gets Better
The Moment
You Realize Your Thoughts are Mostly Wrong!

MUSIC & VIDEO INSPIRATION FOR LIFE'S STRUGGLES

  • Clean & Sober
    All addictions, 12-step, substance abuse, rehab

  • Overwhelmed
    Unhappiness, depression, self image, suicide, fear


  • Down, Not Out

  • Financial stress, poverty, comebacks, starting over


  • Growing Old

  • Old & Cranky, loss, grief, caregiver, regret, goodbye


  • Inspired Media

  • Smart media, film bits, commercials, insights


  • Life Lectures

  • Bright minds, hot topics, keep Life in perspective


  • Life / Comedy

  • Fun songs, stand-up, real people, healthy laughter


  • Homeless

  • Destitution, poverty, hope, struggle, survival, shelter, motivation & slideshow.


microsun

musicbar

“Those who wish
to sing, always
find a song.” 

microsun

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE


GEORGE BURNS QUOTE


IN THE END REGRETS





LIFE'S GREAT EQUALIZER


OLD DRIVER JOKE


MARK TWAIN QUOTE


RETIREMENT IS STOP LIVING AT WORK


INSIDE IS SOMEONE WONDERING WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED


GETTING LUCKY IS FINDING CAR


FORTY IS AGE OF YOUTH


DEMI MOORE QUOTE


STILL HOT, HOT FLASHES


EVERYTHING EVENTUALLY HAPPENS


OLD AND WISE


DIFFICULTIES RUN TO OLD


BENJIMIN FRANKLIN QUOTE


DO NOT GO GENTLE


OLD AGE RECORD


NAPPING JOKE


FORGET YOUR AGE


OLD AGE IS A GIFT


SET ANOTHER GOAL


MAE WEST QUOTE


OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER


SENIORS DRAFTED


DON'T CARE WHAT OTHERS THINK


TURBO GRANNY AND 100 METRE DASH


GROWING UP NOT MADATORY


SOPHIA LOREN QUOTE


STAYING IN LOVE


HAIR GOES GREY


ROMEO AND JULLIET ROMANTIC


OLD AGE HURST


CHRISTOPHER MORELY QUOTE


LAUGHTER IS TIMELESS MICKEY MOUSE


GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL


LIFE IS GOOD


BEGIN AGAIN


BEGIN AGAIN


LIFE IS GOOD


BE YOUNG AND CRAZY


VA VOOM


FROHOFF QUOTE


SLICE OF LIFE BEING OLD


FRED ASTAIRE QUOTE


OLD AGE COMES SUDDENLY


I'LL WORRY WHEN I STOP LOOKING SO GOOD

PRIME HEALTH OLD AGE


LIFE IS GOOD SLOGAN

SHARE / SAVE BUTTON




MUSIC peace
#48 Secret of Life? Remember Birthdays, Not Age

microsun

Not One Person On This Planet Escapes Without A Struggle

Welcome to
Being Human

YING YANG VIDEO

Discover How Others Have Overcome

How Someone Just Like You Can Move Forward

microsun

Life Does Not Play Favorites

But It Does Reward Good Thinking

And Good Thinking Is Often Just A Good Song Away

microsun

microsun

3cats

“A song will
outlive all sermons
in the memory.”

mricrosun

EMAIL WELL THAT'S LIFE


HAIR IS NOT GREY


THREE SIGNS OF AGE


TWO OLS BABES JOKE


YOUTH HAS NO AGE


WALT DISNEY QUOTE


LIFE PROBLEMS OUR OWN CREATION


BUTTON JOKE


DON'T STOP DANCING


MOTHER TERESA QUOTE


I MISS THE PERSON I USED TO BE


ALTERNATIVE TO OLD AGE


NEVER GROW OLD


LEARNING KEEPS YOU YOUNG


SAKI QUOTE


AGE IS A WORK OF ART


AT THIS AGE, BENCH PRESS STATION WAGON


GEORGE BURNS QUOTE


NEW AGE IS MICROWAVE


YOKO ONO QUOTE


AGE NO BARRIER


RUMI QUOTE


MIRROR JOKE


HOT FLASH JOKE


OLD ENOUGH TO FORGET


BETTY WHITE QUOTE


STORIES TO TELL


DR. SEUSS QUOTE


LIFE IS NOT ABOUT GROWING UP


AGE WRINKLES THE BODY


LOVE


JULES RENARD QUOTE


B.F.F.L.


FACEBOOK JOKE


FART JOKE


WHEN THE MEMORIES ARE WORTH THE WRINKLES


JOHN IRVING QUOTE


OLD AGE NOT FOR SISSIES


GRAY POWER


BE WITH THOSE WHO BRING OUT THE BEST


WILL ROGERS QUOTE FROM STAMP


CLINT EASTWOOD QUOTE


SMILE WHILE YOU HAVE TEETH


SPIRIT SHOULD NOT GROW OLD

DANCE SHADOW LET YOUR AGE GROW OLD

SO OLD SO SOON

"It takes a long time to become young."
Pablo Picasso, 1881 - 1973, Artist

Every Generation Blames The Generation Before Them.
Until They Become The Generation Before Them.

BRAIN IMAGE They say that memory loss is the second thing to go as we age.
And honestly, we can't recall the first one.

We think it has something to do with this crazy notion that as we age our thoughts must age alongside. But do thoughts actually age? Or is it simply that the filing cabinet holding the thoughts needs a shot of WD-40?

Okay, upon review, we do sound a little senile with that filing cabinet statement.

Our WD-40 Theory is simply that as we age, our better thoughts get stuck like that old fashioned metal filing cabinet that hasn't been opened for some time. That great quick wit, snappy banter and thoughtful insights are all still there -- just stuck in that cranky filing cabinet. Forget forcing it open, the tract needs oil.

After-all, that lifetime of dialogue, memories, opinions and thoughts has not vaporized into thin air. Although some would have you believe that. No, we believe it's all still intact and tucked away in that cabinet with the missing key. Find the that damn key and bring along the WD-40. You're in for some fun.

It's just easier not to go there when you can enjoy the parade of pills, pain remediation, scheduling suspect blood tests or wondering if that new hip will survive Monday's marathon shopping at Mega-mart. Getting old has the brain focused on a whole new set of issues to be pondered. Not necessarily fun and games by-the-way.

But here's the great part. Just as that cranky drawer benefits from a squirt of WD-40, the best refresh or lubricant equivalent for a seniors' brain? MUSIC -- followed by Greyhound Racing if they live in Florida.

Music is like Time Travel for seniors. In fact, it's not just seniors. Music has certain universal magic that resonates amongst all age groups. Everyone has experienced catching a long forgotten tune on the radio, only to be transported back to that very moment in time -- conjuring up images and recalling the precise lyrics. But Music has what you might call a certain added uummmppphh for the geriatric set

HERE'S THE GREAT PART
The theory here is quite simple: Music above all else will instantly trigger familIar thoughts of long forgotten pleasantness. A cascade of good thought results. The added uummmppphh is provided by time itself -- for there are decades upon decades of prime memories worthy of several country songs, three HBO movies and a Netflix special.

And the music of this generation was beyond spectacular, it spawned everything that we know and enjoy today.

The magic of music appears to dissipate that soupy fog bank in senior and dopey teenage brains equally. Just kidding (maybe) on the dopey teenager angle -- they are saturated enough in music to float several slow meandering chinese fishing vessels. That explains alot.

We don't speak of that Senior Moment thinking that occasionally comes off a little muddled if not down right confused -- have you seen my glasses? We speak of early stage dementia, aphasia and alzheimer's and of course the brutally cantankerous types. Music cuts straight to the heart of the matter and demands their full attention -- which in turn prompts impromptu sing-alongs. Full recall of some tricky lyrics is not uncommon, accompanied by comical dance moves -- there's still spring in those shoes.

It's quite remarkable actually. We predict they'll be huge re-emerging market for kazoos. One of the best musical instruments since that Mouth Harp idea in the sixties. That's about the same time Tip Toe Through The Tulips with Tiny Tim was making it's rounds. Oh yeah, a human had just walked on the moon after the President was assasinated years earlier -- he was having an affair with Hollywoods' Marilyn Monroe.

All that typing to tell you this: The average senior today has lived through the most fascinating passage of time -- ever. Full stop. Some today communicate via email, yet in their 1920's childhood TV was not even invented -- they had handbuilt crystal radio sets listening to the first commercial radio transmissions. Imagine that.

OLD FASHIONED MOVIE STRIP

Not to mention witnessing possibly two world wars, protesting Vietnam, technology leaps and bounds (VCR's, cassette tapes, 8 tracks and IPADS), assassinations, medical wonders, world figures with integrity (Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Billy Graham), and the quickest advancements known to humankind. It was their generation that built all of what we cherish -- we stand on their shoulders.

And the music during this time was as creative as they were. From wartime ballads like White Cliffs of Dover (Vera Lynn) to Louis Armstrong (Wonderful World) to Frank Sinatra (That's Life) to Elvis Prestley and Mowtown. And literally thousands of other noteworthy tunes. This was the older Woodstock generation as well -- the original promoters of Woodstock are now all in their 70's. No shortage of music with this bunch.

Hell, the Dirty Thirties was apparently kinda kinky, the Roaring Twenties was actually roaring (the French called it "The Crazy Years") and the forties was downright freaky. Recent generations have nothing on these old farts.

So back to the music and that can of WD-40.

They've done high-level related studies (Counter Clockwise) on this strange phenoneum. One such experiment saturated 6 seniors with all the trappings of 1959 -- music, tv, living room couch -- and kept coversations tight and focused to the era's flavour of the day. They noticed signaficant improvement in cognition, appearance and demeanor. For all intents and purposes, the six-pack grew younger after just one week.

Fascinating. We're not big enough fans of the concept to remodel the house with gawdy wall hangings from the 1940s, but we'll take the music compenent of that study. Saturate the air waves with music from the past and Bingo, you'll spark quite a commotion.


Here's a few tips if you'd like to set-up your own experiment. You can keep this really informal (hit the play button) or invest an hour or two to put together a thoughtful program. It makes a great gift for the hard to please. You'll find out what works very quickly. But rest assured, you'll have a good laugh together.

1) Be judicious on the song selections. There are endless possibilities, so be clear going in, what it is you seek -- artists name, song title, movie, B&W Cigarette commercials etc?. Hunt down only the original versions of favorite artists -- for example, Dean Martin. The covers are good, but nothing beats the original. And it's easy to do on Youtube. In fact bookmark the video as well (see below).

Youtube allows you to create playlists -- take advantage of that feature. Include TV commercials from thar era as well (see Alka Seltzer video above) and even movie trailer snippets from those blockbusters of yesteryear -- Street Car Named Desire, Gone With The Wind or the Pink Panther. You are only limited by your imagination -- so play director here and create something of interest.

Or keep it simple. Just DJ some old-time toe-tapping background music over dinner.

2) Set the mood. And designate a block of time -- in otherwords, turn off the TV. No distractions. Glass of wine. Cheese plate and a kazoo. Engage in good conversation, like "Where were you when JFK was shot?" or a more pleasant topic "Did you watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon, with the rest of the world". You get the idea. Get them recalling pleasant past experiences. If you have old photo-albums, throw them into the mix. Do whatever you can to make it a comfortable experiment -- favorite wine, cheese, hors d'oeuvres. It lends itself to a great holiday tradition. But crank the music.

3) Have a video component and use a laptop. Downloading the original video really adds interest and recognition. Hence, if you can spend an hour or two prior to meeting to put together a playlist -- or even start with Well That"s Life -- you'll blow their compression stockings off.

Impressive what you can find nowadays. From Ed Sullivan to Jackie Gleason. It`s all there. So you'll have both music and video components -- let your playlist roll so it can be in the background at all times. It`s the music from long forgotten days you seek.

Music will open up that stuck filing cabinet like nothing else will. And once pryed open with a few well-selected tunes, watch out. Like you're witnessing a new person, complete with interesting stories and lousy but very welcome singing voice.

In fact we challenge anyone to give this experiment a shot. It's marvelous to behold. Something deep within is stirred to recognition from a long forgotten era -- not just every lyric is recalled, it's the memories associated with the song itself. First dance at the wedding, last kiss on a beach, favorite song after the war. It's impressively spooky actually. In otherwords, Time Travel.

Sounds like a tune-up kit for your pet senior citizen project -- and with all due respect, it awkwardly is. Anyone tasked with caring for senior relatives these days, should be equipped with such a tool. It works like nothing else.

For many seniors, the so-called Golden Years can be downright miserable. It is not child's play when you factor in major debilatating health issues. Most young bucks couldn`t handle three days of being a senior citizen. Music and this experiment is a nice reprieve for both the recipient and family -- who may not have seen the old-bird or old-duck in some time. We encourage you to try it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thoughts on Ageing,
GEORGE CARLIN

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to Get old is when we're kids?

If you're less than 10 years old, you're so Excited about aging that you think in fractions. "How old are you?" "I'm four and a half!" You're never thirty-six and a half. You're four and a half, going on five! That's the key.

You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back. You jump To the next number, or even a few ahead. "How old are you?" "I'm gonna be 16!" You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16!

And then the greatest day of your life... you Become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony ... YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you Sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There's no fun now, you're Just a sour-dumpling. What's wrong? What's changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.

But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn't think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60. You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70!

After that it's a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday! You get into your 80s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime.

And it doesn't end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; "I Was JUST 92." Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. "I'm 100 and a half!" May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!

TOP TEN TIPS TO STAYING YOUNG

The Golden Years or The Third Act can be bliss for the philosophically minded. It can be downright miserable for the miserably minded. Eitherway, growing old is something we can embrace or fight kicking and screaming. Here's a Top Ten list making its rounds on the internet. How to stay young really boils down to a few key decisions.

HOW TO STAY YOUNG

1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay them.

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop." And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9 Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

REMEMBER: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by The moments that take our breath away.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

OLD AGE: WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?

Healthylifestyleliving.com,
LARRY LEWIS

Let me tell you a secret. Inside of every older person is a younger person wondering what the hell happened.

Maybe it’s because on my next birthday I will be 50 -- but recently I’ve started to notice some little things that are making me feel old.

• I’ve spotted a few visible gray hairs
• Wrinkles have suddenly appeared on my face
• The mirror is reflecting an older looking person’s appearance
• My eldest child has gone to university
• My youngest has finished her GCSE’s
• Saying "we didn’t have IPods, laptops, and cell phones when I was a kid!"
• I’d rather have a cup of tea than alcohol
• I have hairs growing from the top of my ears

And finally being somebody who used to be able to stay up all night, and feel perfectly fine, now if I don’t get enough sleep, it’s all I can do to make it through the day, and no amount of coffee – no matter how strong can help me!

The strange thing is most of the time I don’t feel my age. On a good day, I feel as young as 21, well ok maybe 30! "If wrinkles must be written upon our brow, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should not grow old." – James A. Garfield

But these things, for the briefest of moments made me think "Oh no, I’m growing old!" but the truth is I definitely don’t feel old. I see this time of my life as being the start of an exciting phase, and certainly not as being the end of the road, as some people like us to believe about turning 50. Reaching 50 you are potentially entering the best time of your life. So I have a lot to look forward too.

I have an exciting vision of my life, with so much I still want to achieve. So closing in on my 50th birthday doesn’t for a second mean that I am now on the decline, in fact totally the opposite. To this point I have learnt so much, I will now take this and use it to create change and growth for myself and those whose lives I touch.

Nothing will prevent me from taking action on my goals and dreams and create the things in my life and my world that I plan to. I’m very much alive, and my passions provide me all the energy I need. I see the best years still being ahead of me, and what’s gone before sure hasn’t been too bad.


This feeling is reinforced in my mind from a quote that Ray Kroc said around the time he started the McDonald's Corporation: "I was 52 years old. I had diabetes and incipient arthritis. I had lost my gall bladder and most of my thyroid gland in earlier campaigns, but I was convinced that the best was ahead of me."

Time proved that he seized his opportunities with both hands … who doesn’t know of McDonalds. Every day offers us the chance to create something new or change direction. It's never too late to chase your dreams or do what it is you are passionate about.

Many people have taken giant steps in the later years of their lives. You are never too old and it is never too late to improve any and all aspects of your life! If you are not fully satisfied with any areas of your life, you have the opportunity to reinvent any aspect you so desire.

In my case, I decided to start a new business. Starting a new business at this age is not an easy decision to make, but that probably applies to any age. Statistics in fact are weighed in my favour. 1 in 6 new businesses in the UK are being set up by the over 50s, adding £24billion to the economy. The survival rate of new business set up by those over 50 is 70%, compared to just 28% of businesses set up by the under 50s.

Experience and maturity do matter- and do count- and do contribute to a business’s chance of success. Mind you, I am going slightly against the trend with the business I’ve chosen. I’m building an online business, which is an area we are often told is a young man’s game because younger people are more innovative and technically minded. I might not be a teenager anymore, but I still have what it takes to make things happen.


I discovered that an online business offers me the perfect location to bring my areas of expertise and experience to the market place. It provides me the right vehicle to use my skills and knowledge. So I’m now in the position that I’m using what I’m good at, using all my talent and knowledge accumulated over the years promoting my passions and building something that really excites me.

I’m now a blogger and it is noticeable that there is a growing number of ‘Senior’ bloggers and we are becoming a rising part of the Internet community. At first I thought blogging was more for my kids and their generation. But when I thought more about it, I knew that I could write just as well if not better than some of the young today.

I have plenty of experiences and knowledge to share. And I knew how to use a computer, search on Internet, send E-mails and even write a little bit of programming. As long as I didn’t have to learn to do predictive texting as my kids do on their mobiles I knew I’d be ok.

Life really is beautiful! No matter how old you are! If you are wondering whether you have the courage to do something you have longed to, ask yourself if you are passionate about it, and if you are know that only you can place limitations on what you do.

If you have the belief, desire, and knowledge, you can accomplish many great things in life, no matter your age today. "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter." – Mark Twain

You are never too old for anything.

Don’t wake up one day only to regret having missed out on so many things in life. Don’t miss out on all the marvelous things waiting for you to grab them.

Remember: Don’t allow yourself to fear growing older, and make sure you don’t look back from your death bed regretting not having lived life the way you wanted.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

GROWING OLD IS A FAMILY AFFAIR

Thoughts on Ageing, Esquire Magazine April 2013
BENJAMIN PERCY

My father - who is in his mid-sixties - says he doesn't feel old. Not anymore. He says he once did, when he turned thirty, forty, but after that, age ceased to affect him. He says his mind feels the same as it did when he was twenty. "You're only aware of growing older when you're younger. It's like some sort of inverse ratio. The younger you are, the more fascinated and anxious you are by aging."

He won't accept senior-citizen discounts. He tosses out the AARP magazine that magically began appearing in the mail one day. He dyes his hair a charcoal black. He turns his head when a pretty woman swishes past.

I'm not sure I believe him. I feel old, after all. I feel like as soon as we finish growing, we begin falling apart.

He and I recently got into a wrestling match. Over the years, physical violence has been our standard. He cannot shake without trying to crush my knuckles with his grip. He cannot hug without slamming a palm against my back, knocking the air from my lungs. Once, when I was a teenager and we were shopping at a department store, he called out my name and I turned to face him and he sprayed my eyes with a sample bottle of cologne as if it were mace. I collapsed to the floor, howling in pain, blind for the next few minutes. This is as close as we will ever get to I love you.

TOUGH AS NAILS

In the past he always won. He was always bigger, the standard of strength and manhood. He once snapped a wrench in half when working on a rusted bolt. He once stacked two rowboats on top of each other and heaved them into the back of our truck. From high in the mountains, miles from any road, he packed out the elk he hunted. When he was a kid, playing baseball, the catcher dropped his mitt and took the bench, complaining that my father's fastballs hurt too much. No matter how many hours I put in at the gym, he would always overpower me when we were grappling, crushing me to the floor, hurling me onto the couch so severely the frame broke.

But this time was different. This time I was stronger. It was difficult for me to recognize at first. Even as I strangled him into a headlock - even as I dropped him to his knees - I kept expecting him to rally, to twist an arm behind my back and smash my face into the carpet. But he didn't. I pinned him, jabbing my knee into his spine, and he stopped struggling and then we shoved away from each other and fell back against couches on opposite sides of the room and gasped for breath and didn't look at each other.

I can't stop running. I run on treadmills and I run on forest paths and I run on county highways with grain trucks blasting by, knocking me onto the shoulder with the big balls of air that come rolling off. Sometimes I run so far I can't feel my feet, and it is as though I am clopping along on my anklebones. My throat goes raw and my breath tastes like blood. My eyes burn with sweat and the world goes blurry.

I'm running because in my father I see myself.

I am thirty-three. My hair is threaded with gray. There is something wrong with my back, an old injury come back to haunt me. It could have been the time I was T-boned at forty-five miles per hour or it could have been the time I tried to do a backflip off a ski jump and landed on my head or it could have been the time I deadlifted two hundred pounds and felt something burst inside me. An X-ray reveals the disk, directly between my shoulder blades, has almost dissolved. A horn of bone reaches from one vertebra to the next. They are fusing, calcifying. Without a chiropractor, I suffer from chronic headaches, an electric spike of pain that rises from my back, up my neck, into my left temple, and hooks my eye. The other day it felt as though the disk were a jellyfish bulging from my spine, sizzling me with its tendrils.

I try to ignore the pain. My feet pound asphalt. I glance at my ticking watch. I am running away.

My neighbor Dave Tapper is the kind of guy who builds his own ice rink, who quotes Consumer Reports, who gets red-cheeked with excitement when advising me on dishwashers, flat-screen televisions. With his short blond broom of hair and shoulders rounded with muscle, he could pass for California surfer if not for his thick Minnesota accent. He recently helped me break down and fit back together a floor-model treadmill I couldn't shove through my patio door. Soon we will wire my living room for surround sound.

He understands how things work, how to put them together and pull them apart, in a way that I do not. Maybe this has something to do with his job as a family physician at the Allina Medical Clinic in Faribault, Minnesota. The body is just another machine to him. Blood replaces oil, tendons replace wires, joints replace gears. He buys the best brands - and maintains them - because he wants them to last. He eats the best food - and exercises religiously - because he sees every day what happens to people who don't take care of themselves.

Dave says there are two types of aging: physical and psychological. Physical aging is what we see, but psychological aging is what we feel. They don't always advance together. Often the mind gives in before the body. Once the indestructibility of youth is gone, people start to feel old even though their body remains quite capable. "Often this happens to people in their late twenties and early thirties," Dave says. "Like you."

And that, he says, is the beginning of the end. People gain weight. They stop conditioning. They prepare their body for the chronic disease that will knock them out years later.

"You are," he says, "your own worst enemy."

My grandfather - my father's father - did not expect to live past thirty. Throughout his childhood, he experienced severe abdominal pain, constant diarrhea, and at sixteen, his colon was removed. For the rest of his life he wore a colostomy bag that looked like some kind of medieval girdle. He couldn't run. He couldn't play football or basketball. He couldn't go swimming, couldn't even take his shirt off at the beach. From the time he was a teenager, he lived a life as sedentary as a seventy-year-old.

When he ate celery or turkey or roast beef - anything rough - he would chew the taste off it and then spit it delicately onto the tines of his fork, so that by the end of every meal his plate was wreathed with chewed balls of green, yellow, brown.

He was tall and broad enough to fill doorways. He spoke at a near yell. He was rarely seen without a vest, bolo tie, and newsboy cap. When he spoke to women, he said, "Listen here, Dixie." He drove a Lincoln Town Car as big as a sperm whale, and even in the summer he wore driving gloves. He referred to the Beatles as "noise." He had inside shoes and outside shoes. He labeled everything he owned - his books, his tools, even his car - with his initials, HLP, as if afraid they might vanish.

This same compulsion made him drive by the buildings he designed as an architect. "I made that one," he'd say and point a finger cubed with arthritis. "That one, too." It must have been a good feeling - like a writer who sneaks through a bookstore to find his books on the shelves - seeing your work, your physical tether to the world.

AGING WITH FAKE ID

In college, my roommate and I printed fake IDs for all our friends. We used X-acto knives on passport photos. We downloaded license designs. At that time, Maine and Hawaii did not have holograms, so that's where we were all from, Maine and Hawaii. We bought a laminator and used sandpaper to buff the corners. We wanted so badly to be older, because to be older meant you could drink at the bars, surrounded by women with menthol-flavored breath and moisture shining in their cleavage.

That's not what it means to be older anymore. To be older means you don't take the stairs two steps at a time, you take two steps a stair. To be older means you sag and bulge and calcify. When you realize that, you stop lying forward and start lying backward.

My wife likes to say she is twenty-nine. She says she will remain twenty-nine until she is thirty-nine, and then she will remain thirty-nine for the rest of her life. My sister, too, says she is twenty-nine, though she is not.

My grandfather used to lie about his age. Not the number, but the symptoms. Near the end of his life, my parents would accompany him to the clinic, and when the doctor asked him how he was doing, he would say, "Just fine." At which point my parents would intervene. He had dizzy spells. He had fallen on his way out of the grocery store and cut up his hands and knees. He experienced an electrical jolt when chewing. His fingers were so bent with arthritis he was having trouble changing his colostomy bag.

Or maybe it wasn't lying. Maybe it was willful ignorance.

SOUND OF SILENCE

My father does not want to discuss getting older. This is his nature. He prefers silence. He mutes commercials. He writes single-sentence e-mails. Every road trip I took as a kid - to Yellowstone, to Yosemite, to Puget Sound, to the scablands of eastern Oregon - the radio remained off. My childhood was muted except when I drove alone with my mother and she tuned in to KICE 100, the local country station. "Quiet," might have been the word my father said most often.

I remember stepping into the garage and finding him next to the carcass of a deer. He had gutted it and strung it from the rafters by its hind leg. A big silver bowl sat on the floor beneath it, and the only noise was the drip-drip-drip of blood.

His silence is more layered and complicated now. There is the silence between us in the bathroom, where I have stood by him at a bank of urinals and heard the stop-and-go progress of his urine. There is the silence in the kitchen, where he stirs medicated powders into his drinks to battle his high blood pressure. There is the silence in the bedroom, where he takes a nap every afternoon. And there is the long silence that gets closer every year. The silence I can sometimes taste in my own mouth, that of cinders and sulfur, of blood in a bowl.

Once, when I was a boy, when my grandfather walked away from our house, when he climbed into his Town Car, when he tooted the horn and started down the gravel driveway, my mother said, "Take a long look. This might be the last time you see him."

I felt then as fearful and bewildered as he must have when he drove me to a Portland address and found not the high-rise he promised me but a work site jammed with bulldozers and cranes and men in hard hats and steel-toed boots. "I'll be damned," he said. "It's gone. It's vanished."

So did he a few months later. He ended up living until he was ninety-three, but it was as though he had been ninety-three forever. He spent his whole life as an old man.

Sometimes people ask me why I work so hard. Because that's all I do, I work. I wake up early and go to bed late, without so much as a fifteen-minute slot unaccounted for.

I don't tell them the real answer. That I think I am going to die.

I am going to die, of course, but most people don't really consider their mortality until their car flips or the X-ray reveals a tumor or they hit their seventies and start showing up to church every Sunday.

I don't know when this began, maybe when I was a teenager and skied into a spruce and crashed into a sudden darkness and woke up an hour later alone in a tree well with frostbite. But it seems like I have always felt the specter of death nearby, like a shadow a lamp won't bully from the room.

I often wonder how it will happen. Will a cancerous cauliflower bloom in my colon? Will a grain truck smear me across a country road? Will I collapse on a long run or stroke out on the chiropractor's table or perish quietly in my sleep? I do not mind the idea of dying violently, and if I do manage to survive into my seventies, I joke about ending my life cleanly - avoiding the slow, crippling descent - plastering myself with T-bone steaks and wandering off into grizzly country. However it happens, whenever it happens, when the grave widens its jaws, will I feel I have lived too long or not long enough?

A friend once told me he saw a man being wheeled on a gurney, surrounded by EMTs, and felt a pang of jealousy. Because that man could rest, that man had an excuse to neglect his e-mails, to skip work, to ignore meetings, to stare at the wall and think nothing. We both laughed, but the laughter cut short. Because he was telling the truth. I am terrified of getting old, but I am unafraid of dying. Because then I can rest, can pause the urgency that otherwise infects me.

I drink every night. I don't think that makes me an alcoholic, but I'm sure some would say different. I need it, just like I need the gallons of coffee to jump-start and settle and cure a mind and body that sometimes feel so stimulated that thousands of centipedes might be twisting inside of me.

I told my grandfather about the pregnancy over the phone. He was weak and addled at the time, on his way back from a visit to the doctor. There was a benign growth in his stomach the size of a football, and it was interfering with digestion. A surgery had been scheduled, the surgery that would kill him.

"It's a boy," I said. "We're having a boy."

"Well, that's fine," he said. "That's good. That's what we do. We have children. And you'll have your boy and you'll keep him in line, won't you?"

"I will," I said.

"Be firm. Set rules. Give him love but not too much." He sounded very far away.

"He'll be fine. You'll be fine."

Yes.

There is a video on my phone. My son likes to watch it. In it, my father holds him by the hands and spins him in circles until his body lifts off the ground, faster and faster still, until his body flattens and twirls like a compass held over a magnet. They are in a bark-chipped playground. They both say, "Whoa, whoa, whoa" with every turn and laugh maniacally. And then they stop and stumble away from each other.

My son falls and lies facedown. My father braces himself against a swing set. They convulse, laughing in a gasping, choking way.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This website project is dedicated to all good-things celebrating Life through song and video. A reminder of sorts, that regardless of where we find ourselves at this moment in time, we were once our very best and can be once more. Begin Again Anytime.
Feel free to contribute your links
here.

We don't expect that all content will suit all tastes. That's not the intended purpose. What we do hope is that you'll poke around, look, listen and maybe contribute something, anything that can move you into "good thinking". And good music can do that for you instantly. Get a soundtrack for your life.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PINTEREST GROWING OLD Sidebar content from this page. Great Pins for Pinterest.